The mind games between welterweight challenger Nick Diaz and champion Georges St-Pierre reached “uncomfortable” levels leading up to the UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz main event, according to St-Pierre.
Diaz had been calling for a fight with St-Pierre for years. He accused the champion of not really being injured and being scared to take the fight, while St-Pierre rehabbed his knee from an ACL injury.
On a media conference call leading up to the event, Diaz attacked St-Pierre’s character. He called the champion pampered. Diaz went on a sports talk radio show and accused St-Pierre of being on steroids. The two had to be separated during the weigh-ins, but the mind games reached another level backstage just prior to walking out to the Octagon.
“Just before the fight I was in the locker room. They sent some guy over to check my hand wrap. It was going back and forth. They were yelling in my locker room. Everything was about head games. It was crazy. It’s the first time someone played a lot of head games like this with me,” said St-Pierre during the post-fight press conference.
UFC president Dana White explained what occurred with the hand wraps.
“So what happened was, Jake Shields was the one who sat in on the hand wrap. After they wrapped (St-Pierre’s) hands, Shields said, ‘cool, see you later,’ and then they came back later and said they wanted another guy to look at the hand wrap. The commission said, ‘you already did the hand wraps. He’s gloved up. It’s over.’ So then they started to freak out, but everything was taken care of,” said White.
“What I think happened with the whole hand wrap thing, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book in boxing. It was part of the whole plan to mess with GSP,” said White following the post-fight press conference.
“As soon as the fight was over, the hand wraps were cut off and put in a bag and given to the commission,” revealed White. The commission has both fighters’ hand wraps and will investigate them at the request of either camp.
St-Pierre is happy to get the rivalry with Diaz behind him.
“It was a tough fight for me. I just wanted to get rid of it. It was tough. It was very demanding, very stressful,” said the champion. “Some people play head games with me before, but that level it was quite uncomfortable. It was something else.”